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Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design

Setting up important preferences


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Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design

with Mordy Golding

Video: Setting up important preferences

Like just about any computer program out there, Illustrator has its fair share of Preferences settings. I'd like to take a moment just go over a few of them with you, ones that I think are really important when you think about creating web graphics inside of Illustrator. Now to open up my Preferences panel I am going to come over here to the Illustrator menu and I will open up the General panel. If you are on Windows, you can choose Edit > Preferences to open the General panel. The keyboard shortcut is Command+K on the Mac or Ctrl+K on Windows. Perhaps the most important setting of all when it comes to web design is this one right here called Use Preview Bounds.
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  1. 6m 56s
    1. Welcome
      1m 33s
    2. Choosing Illustrator for web and interactive design
      2m 54s
    3. Illustrator and the web design workflow
      2m 7s
    4. Using the exercise files
      22s
  2. 40m 9s
    1. Pixel dimension vs. resolution
      4m 14s
    2. Pixel Preview mode and anti-aliasing
      5m 39s
    3. Taking charge of anti-aliasing
      5m 27s
    4. Choosing the right color management settings
      7m 25s
    5. Setting up important preferences
      6m 22s
    6. Setting up a workspace optimized for web design
      11m 2s
  3. 54m 5s
    1. Using the Web document profile
      3m 39s
    2. Creating custom document profiles
      9m 38s
    3. Using Illustrator's free web templates
      2m 33s
    4. Creating a sitemap or wireframe
      2m 50s
    5. Setting up an entire web site
      9m 33s
    6. Setting up a grid
      10m 37s
    7. Setting up an online ad campaign
      8m 13s
    8. Setting up icons for iOS
      2m 24s
    9. Setting up mobile content with Adobe Device Central
      4m 38s
  4. 32m 22s
    1. Understanding web-safe colors
      11m 50s
    2. Limiting the Color Guide to web-safe colors
      4m 53s
    3. Using Recolor Art to convert art to web-safe colors
      4m 54s
    4. Getting color inspiration from Adobe Kuler
      6m 48s
    5. Using Recolor Artwork to modify colors across a site
      3m 57s
  5. 56m 54s
    1. Using the Save for Web & Devices feature
      6m 44s
    2. Understanding the GIF file format and its settings
      10m 20s
    3. Understanding the JPEG file format and its settings
      7m 39s
    4. Understanding the PNG file format and its settings
      3m 21s
    5. Understanding the WBMP file format and its settings
      1m 18s
    6. Understanding the SWF file format and its settings
      4m 13s
    7. Understanding the SVG file format and its settings
      3m 41s
    8. Adjusting the dimensions of a graphic
      4m 46s
    9. Optimizing files to a specific file size
      4m 5s
    10. Modifying Save for Web & Devices output settings
      6m 51s
    11. Previewing content in Adobe Device Central
      3m 56s
  6. 56m 6s
    1. Setting point type in Illustrator
      4m 11s
    2. Setting area type in Illustrator
      5m 20s
    3. Formatting text quickly with paragraph styles
      14m 39s
    4. Overriding formatting with character styles
      3m 2s
    5. Controlling text anti-aliasing
      4m 50s
    6. Simulating the CSS box model
      11m 14s
    7. Adding cool reflections to text and graphics
      8m 26s
    8. Applying settings quickly with Graphic Styles
      4m 24s
  7. 35m 56s
    1. Understanding the concept of slicing
      3m 22s
    2. Creating slices manually
      4m 26s
    3. Creating slices from guides
      2m 45s
    4. Creating slices from objects
      7m 33s
    5. Understanding the different slice types
      4m 20s
    6. Applying settings to slices
      9m 20s
    7. Creating hotspots with image maps
      4m 10s
  8. 23m 35s
    1. Exporting static SWF files from Illustrator
      3m 35s
    2. Animated SWF: Converting Illustrator layers to SWF frames
      4m 3s
    3. Animated SWF: Using blends to define motion
      8m 35s
    4. Animated SWF: Adding static artwork to an animation
      3m 24s
    5. Animated SWF: Controlling time within an animation
      3m 58s
  9. 17m 13s
    1. Preserving slices and structure with PSD export
      6m 10s
    2. Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
      4m 35s
    3. Sharing color swatches between Illustrator and Photoshop
      2m 52s
    4. Generating an animated GIF file with Photoshop
      3m 36s
  10. 7m 28s
    1. Exporting HTML from Illustrator for use in Dreamweaver
      3m 31s
    2. Exporting CSS and DIVs from an Illustrator layout
      3m 57s
  11. 12m 37s
    1. Moving art between Illustrator and Fireworks
      6m 25s
    2. Using dynamic shapes from Fireworks
      3m 48s
    3. Sharing color swatches between Illustrator and Fireworks
      2m 24s
  12. 16m 7s
    1. Building files for use in Flash Catalyst
      4m 28s
    2. Creating a new Flash Catalyst project from an Illustrator file
      3m 40s
    3. Copying and pasting artwork between Illustrator and Flash Catalyst
      2m 4s
    4. Roundtrip editing between Illustrator and Flash Catalyst
      3m 36s
    5. Creating Flex skins for use in Flash Builder
      2m 19s
  13. 19m 48s
    1. Understanding symbols: The lifeblood of Flash
      4m 58s
    2. Symbols: Understanding 9-slice scaling
      4m 18s
    3. Setting text that will be used in Flash Professional
      3m 5s
    4. Moving artwork between Illustrator and Flash Professional
      7m 27s
  14. 1m 6s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 6s

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Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design
6h 20m Intermediate Sep 24, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Illustrator CS5 Web and Interactive Design, Mordy Golding shows how to create pixel-perfect graphics for use in web sites, video compositions, and mobile apps. This course covers a wide range of workflows, from creating online ad campaigns, web sites, icons, to taking art from Illustrator to Flash Professional. Sharing tips, tricks, and creative techniques along the way, Mordy provides insight and instruction for taking projects from initial concept straight through to production. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Getting perfectly sized pixel graphics from Illustrator
  • Setting up preferences in Illustrator for web design
  • Creating custom document profiles
  • Getting great color on the web
  • Understanding web graphic file formats (GIF, JPG, PNG, SWF, and SVG)
  • Setting great-looking type
  • Slicing artwork for various tasks
  • Creating Flash animations directly from Illustrator
  • Working with Photoshop Smart Objects
  • Exporting HTML and CSS from Illustrator
  • Integrating with Flash Catalyst
Subjects:
Web Web Graphics Interaction Design Prototyping Web Design
Software:
Illustrator
Author:
Mordy Golding

Setting up important preferences

Like just about any computer program out there, Illustrator has its fair share of Preferences settings. I'd like to take a moment just go over a few of them with you, ones that I think are really important when you think about creating web graphics inside of Illustrator. Now to open up my Preferences panel I am going to come over here to the Illustrator menu and I will open up the General panel. If you are on Windows, you can choose Edit > Preferences to open the General panel. The keyboard shortcut is Command+K on the Mac or Ctrl+K on Windows. Perhaps the most important setting of all when it comes to web design is this one right here called Use Preview Bounds.

Now normally when you create artwork inside of Illustrator we know that Illustrator creates its artwork out of anchor points and paths. For example, a simple rectangle is made up of four anchor points with paths that connect them. I also have the ability to add attributes to adjust the appearance of that path. Things, for example, like fills and strokes and by default Illustrator actually aligns the stroke weight or the width of the stroke to the center line of a path. So, for example, if I specify a stroke width of about two points or two pixels, Illustrator actually centers that stroke weight on the path itself, meaning that of that two-pixel stroke, one pixel is aligned towards the inside of the path, and the other pixel is aligned towards the outside of the path.

So just as a basic example if I were to create a 100 pixel x 100 pixel rectangle inside of Illustrator, the path would indeed be 100 x 100 pixels, but if I applied a two-pixel stroke weight to that object, the size of my rectangle when I export it out of Illustrator will actually be 102 pixels x 102 pixels. That's because of the added stroke weight. But here is the weird thing about Illustrator. You see by default if I were to actually click on that rectangle and look at the size of that rectangle in say the Transform panel, it would only show me the rectangle as being 100 x 100, even know when that artwork gets exported it will really be 102 x 102.

So if I want all the measurements to appear precise to me inside of Illustrator, I can turn on this setting called Use Preview Bounds. This setting tells Illustrator that when displaying the measurements of objects inside of the Transform panel don't use actual size of the path. Use the size of the appearance of the artwork in general, which includes the weight of the stroke. Let me give you an example. I am going to leave this setting turned off right now, I am going to click just OK, and I will create a new document here. Let's do a web-based document. Click OK. I am going to choose Window, and I will choose Transform to open up my Transform panel, and now I will take this rectangle here and just click once in the artboard.

I will make it a Width of 100 and a Height of 100 and click OK. Notice that right now in the Transform panel the Width and Height show as 100 pixels x 100 pixels. However, if I now go to File > Save for Web & Devices, I go to where it says Image Size and I turn off the Clip to Artboard setting and apply that. This way only the artwork actually gets exported, and I can see that the size of this graphic when it gets exported is actually 101 x 101. Why is that? If I click Cancel here, I can see that this rectangle actually has a one-point stroke applied to it.

So what I am seeing in the Transform panel is only representative of the path itself. That really doesn't help me too much. So I am going to press Command+K to open up my Preferences panel. I am going to turn on the Use Preview Bounds settings and click OK. Now you can see that the Transform panel shows me a Width and Height of 101 pixels x 101 pixels. So now the values that I see inside of Illustrator will be accurate, allowing me to ensure that the graphics that I create will always be perfect. After all, more so than just about any other kind of design when creating web graphics we need to ensure that our pixel measurements are perfect.

Another side benefit of turning on this Use Preview Bounds settings is that not only the Transform panel uses this setting, but the Align panel also uses it. By default, Illustrator aligns paths to each other. However, with the Use Preview Bounds settings on, the Align panel actually uses the appearance of that path for alignment, so once again I am going to get better results by having that option turned on. Let's take a look at a few other important settings and preferences that will help us when creating web graphics.

I am going to press Command+K to bring open the Preferences dialog box and I will click on the pop-up over here and choose to go to where it says Units. I want to make sure that where it says General my measurements are now set to pixels. This is actually the default setting when you use a web profile inside of Illustrator. However, you can see that the Stroke setting still uses points. When I know for sure that I am focused on web design, I like to make sure that I am always working inside of pixels. So where it says Stroke here I am going to change this to work with pixels as well. One of the main reasons why I like to do this is because many times in our brains as a designer we use varying weights or widths for our strokes.

So it's not uncommon for a Designer to use, for example, a stroke weight of about half a point. However, there is no such thing as a half of a pixel. When working with the web we have to use whole numbers. In fact, because of the Align to Pixel Grid setting that's on by default inside of Illustrator, when you are creating web graphics you won't even be able to specify fractional widths when defining stroke weight. For example, if you try to type in one-and-a- half points, it will change back to a whole number. Now for Type itself I am fine leaving that at Points right now because even as a web designer I don't always think about my type size in pixels.

I still think about that in point size. But in reality I know that in most cases the type that I create inside of Illustrator is just going to be re-created using CSS. So I am just going to leave it set to Points for now. Finally, in this pop-up menu I am now going to choose Guides & Grid. I just want to make sure that on the bottom here this setting called Show Pixel Grid is actually turned on. This means that when I am at 600% or higher in my zoom level a grid will appear inside of my document, letting me see the actual areas or boundaries for each of the pixels.

This will ultimately help me when I am looking at my artwork to make sure that the anti-aliasing is perfect. I will click OK to accept these preferences and now with these preferences in place we are sure to get what we expect when creating web graphics inside of Illustrator.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illustrator CS5 for Web and Interactive Design.


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Q: In the chapter 5 movie, "Simulating the CSS box model," the author details the CSS box, but names the inner portion the margin and the outer portion the padding. This is reversed from what I’ve have seen elsewhere. Is this an error in the video?
A: This video does indeed contain an error where the author describes the margin and padding. The padding should be described as the area inside the border, and the margin the area outside the border.
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